Didcot, as we know, is a growth town. It has changed hugely in the last 20 years, but is that a good or bad development?
To find out I asked my blog readers what they liked about living in Didcot. I’ve split the responses into five different categories, added my thoughts under each one and included some reader comments in italics. Do you agree with them?
1 . It’s just the right size
This may be a controversial viewpoint, given Didcot’s ever expanding housing estates. However Didcot hasn’t yet reached the size where you need to drive or get a bus into town (although plenty do). Perhaps it’s the perfect size?
I like being able to walk into town and access the things I need locally rather than having to go into Oxford or Reading.
I was born at my parent’s home in Didcot. I have grown up here and seen the town grow with me. There is so much more here now for all ages and I couldn’t see myself living anywhere else now. I love walking down the street and knowing so many people – quite simply it’s home.
I love being able to walk into town, go to the cinema or a cafe, go shopping or play bingo. Everything is so close.
It’s big enough to attract some good facilities like a cinema and arts centre, but small enough to still have a sense of community. I always see someone I know when I’m in town or walking around our estate.
I enjoy being able to go out for a night, perhaps to Cornerstone or the cinema, and being able walk home.
2. Good transport links
Didcot is incredibly well connected. When I was younger one of the best things about Didcot, for me, was how easy it was to get away from! However, I now appreciate the good road and rail links for what they enable me to do, whilst still happily living in Didcot.
I love the fact I can be in our capital city in under an hour or in Bath for some culture.
Being on a mainline rail line, we can easily travel to Oxford, Bristol, Reading or London which makes Didcot ideal for commuting.
The transport connections are great, getting to London in 40 minutes is a real bonus.
3. Shops, cinema and restaurants
With housing development comes commercial and leisure opportunities. Our cultural facilities have improved greatly over the years (even if some have temporarily closed).
Didcot has all the amenities we need on our doorstep, a buzzing town centre with an array of shops, restaurants and coffee shops and a wide selection of supermarkets.
I like the facilities that are available in the town. Cinema, theatre, parks and shops. There is a good mix of independent and chain shops.
I like the range of shops, restaurants and entertainment within easy walk of home.
I can’t wait to see a show again at Cornerstone, really looking forward to another beer festival too!
4. Green spaces and the surrounding countryside
I’m lucky enough to live almost on the edge of town so can be on a footpath just a few minutes after leaving home. This gives me access to great running and walking routes; it doesn’t take long to get out into the countryside.
There are plenty of green spaces that surround Didcot too. I love catching a glimpse of them from the town at the top of Haydon Road or the bottom of Park Road.
The park is good for hanging out in. (My teen son’s comment, bribed with food in order to extract a recommendation from him).
It is also easy to get out into the countryside from Didcot, for example to the Ridgeway.
Despite the housing, Didcot does have green spaces. There are lakes on Ladygrove and Great Western Park, parks and traffic free footpaths.
Wittenham Clumps is walkable from the Ladygrove estate, plus there are several local village pubs within walking distance.
I remember the trees being planted along the side of the park in Brasenose and the on the green outside Stephen Freeman School.
Edmond’s Park and Ladygrove have great playgrounds. It’s a good place to bring up children.
5. One big community
There are many different social groups to get involved in which cover all aspects of the community. I’ve showcased some of them on the blog previously. Even better is when residents identify a gap and set their own group, social club or orchestra up.
We have some fantastic people who do amazing charity work helping and supporting those in need. For example, Play2Give, Secret Santa 365 and Markers for Mindfulness.
There are some fantastic schools in the area; both Primary and Secondary, so raising a family here has been great.
The best thing about Didcot is the friendly community.
The schools are very good and provide a lot of opportunities for the children.
There are lots of different sporting clubs and facilities. We have parkrun, a swimming pool and free tennis courts too.
What do you think? Is there anything you’d add?
The next question
This week’s blog leads nicely into the next question, which is What would improve Didcot?
Do drop me a message with your suggestions, either via Facebook or to firstname.lastname@example.org.